The Canadian Motorcycle Hall of Fame held their annual Induction Banquet and Reunion at the Sheraton Toronto Airport Hotel on November 4, with a crowd of over 250 riders, racers, Hall members, fans and industry types on hand to enjoy the festivities. The 12th annual event was sponsored by Husqvarna, with additional support from Joe Rocket, BMW Motorrad Canada, Honda Canada, Flat Track Canada, Yamaha Canada and event founder Bar Hodgson Productions.
Top racer honored at the event was Steve Beattie, the 2016 Flat Track Canada National Champ who suffered a major injury at the end of last season at Ohsweken, and then worked in the pits last summer for the KTM Canada National Motocross program with friend and neighbor Cole Thompson. Beattie has also had success in the U.S. as a chassis tuner and rider coach for top American Flat Trackers Jared Mess and Brad Baker, as well as winning an AMA National himself.
“I think I’m kind of young to be up here,” cracked Beattie when he took the stage after his Audio-Visual introduction. From there, Beattie suggested he’d had a tough career since he didn’t start racing until he was ten, shortly after heading out to buy a bicycle with his dad and returning with a Suzuki 80 dirt bike.
“I have lots of people to thank, especially all my family, and specific people like Jon Cornwell and (fellow inductee) Kurt Beiger,” said the always-jovial Beattie. “I really have to thank my wife Michelle, because if she had stuck to her guns the first time I broke my neck, I would never have done enough to get into the Canadian Motorcycle Hall of Fame.”
Beattie admits to five major neck injuries during his career, forcing at least a couple of retirements, and explains his tolerance for, and ability to forget, pain are major factors in his many successes in a wide variety of two wheeled sport and competition. His first major retirement in 2006 lead to the creation of his chassis set-up business, 26suspension.
Legendary motorcycle builder and tuner Mike Crompton started off by saying that when people have asked how he gets away with being busy with bikes and racing, his wife Kim has always encouraged him to participate and take advantage of the opportunities available.
“In the end, we always have a great time and come back with lots of stories to tell,” confirmed Crompton, who has built title winning machinery for George Morin, Art Robbins, Michel Mercier, Miguel Duhamel, Jordan Szoke in the glory days of the works CSBK Kawasaki program, as well as a host of others.
Crompton explained that is was a great honor to be inducted at the same time as fellow super tuner/builder Nick Kemp, since “he was always a go-to guy when we needed something fixed in a hurry, or if something was wrecked, and we could weld it, or rebuild it, or make another one or a redesign, whatever it took.”
“I have other great friends here tonight who were always there for me like Harald Surian, always part of a top notch fantastic team, and Jon Cornwell (already in the Hall of Fame) who was always a big help and always there when I needed him.
Crompton spoke of his time with Suzuki Canada, Team Manager George Morin, ace racer Michel Mercier (now all in the Hall of Fame) and the mid-1980s, first generation Suzuki GSX-R750 Superbike.
“Michel rode with his heart, an incredible racer and an incredible athlete. But it could be frustrating, and at times we were racing three different motorcycles over a weekend, and there were some incidents.
“Suzuki were great to deal with, but they always insisted the bikes to be blue, and I one time when I was at Suzuki, I asked if we could switch to the red ones, and they wanted to know why. So I told them – I can see them coming out of the sky easier!”
Once the laughs died down, Crompton also wanted to recognize the famous Ontario Honda race Shop in downtown Toronto on Queen Street, and owners Murray Brown and the late Ricky Andrews, a real beehive of activity that supported a wide range of endeavors from the 1970s through the 1990s.
“The best thing with the motorcycles is always the friendship and the camaraderie that goes along with racing. My father-in-law once said that I have the most fascinating array of friends and associates, and I think he meant that in a good way.”
Kurt Bieger, former racer and top Flat Track builder and Tuner, explained that when he started in competition, he crashed a lot. “One of my best friends, and old Brit, asked me why I crashed so much, and I told him the tires just were not good enough!”
“It took me some time to figure out that I had to slow down a little bit. I gradually figured that out, and then, when I got hurt, I started letting other people race my machines so they wouldn’t just sit.”
“In closing, I want to say that It’s hard to explain why anyone spends hours and hours alone working on their race bikes. We’re trying to figure out how to put the combination of bike, rider and track together, day by day. I’m happy to be up here, I’m proud to be part of this group, and thanks everyone.”
Famed Announcer Pat Gonsalves opened his remakes by explaining that he briefly considered having his alter-ego, Guyanese announcer Huntley Williams, speak on his behalf. This took some in the crowd way back, since Gonsalves hadn’t worked that character into his race coverage since the late 1970s at Shannonville Motorsport Park.
With a career spanning many types of motorsports in a variety of countries, both on the P.A. and television, Gonsalves admitted that he has never “met a microphone I didn’t like. This evening is truly special, and I want to thank the group of racers that nominated me for the Hall including Kathleen Coburn, Alan Labrosse and Bernie Ryan.”
“I am filled with gratitude for my career announcing, now at 40 years and counting. Harry McCluney hired me to work with the Canadian Road Racing Club at their events at Mosport when I was at Ryerson in 1972, and I eventually worked at Shannonville for John Nelson when it opened in 1976, and started announcing at Daytona International Speedway in 1977.”
The next event for the Canadian Motorcycle Hall of Fame will be the 2018 Banquet and Reunion scheduled for November 17 at the Delta Burnaby Conference Centre in British Columbia.
Sunday, 05 November 2017 01:09 Published in News
(June 27, 2017)- Husqvarna Motorcycles today launch their complete line-up of 2018 enduro models – a sophisticated new series of 2-stroke and 4-stroke machines that take the historic brand’s enduro model line-up to a whole new level in terms of technology and performance.
Tuesday, 27 June 2017 17:12 Published in Products
(June 13, 2017)- Husqvarna Motorcycles are proud to unveil the new 2018 Husqvarna FS 450 – an updated supermoto machine that successfully carries Husqvarna’s World Championship winning pedigree into a new era.
Tuesday, 13 June 2017 15:49 Published in Industry News
(April 4, 2017)- Husqvarna Motorcycles proudly announce the introduction of their next generation fuel-injected 2-stroke enduro motorcycles.
Tuesday, 04 April 2017 18:57 Published in News
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (Feb. 16, 2017) – American Flat Track is proud to announce a new partnership naming Husqvarna Motorcycles as the Official Motorcycle of AFT Singles for the 2017 season.
Thursday, 16 February 2017 15:34 Published in News
@Husqvarna1903 •#701SuperMotoRideOut •(February 8, 2017)- Husqvarna Motorcycles is pleased to present the second edition of the 701 SUPERMOTO RIDE OUT, four days of exciting riding aboard the 701 SUPERMOTO.
Wednesday, 08 February 2017 13:16 Published in News
@Husqvarna1903 •@HusqvarnaNA •(October 26, 2016)- The latest Husqvarna apparel range, which embraces a full selection of functional apparel for off-road casual and lifestyle apparel and accessories, can be seen on the Husqvarna Motorcycles website.
Wednesday, 26 October 2016 16:18 Published in Industry News
@Husqvarna1903 •#husqvarna •(September 29, 2016)- Husqvarna Motorcycles is proud to unveil the new 701 SUPERMOTO and 701 ENDURO, two class-leading single cylinder motorcycles that have been significantly revamped for model year 2017.
Thursday, 29 September 2016 13:36 Published in Industry News
Brian Bauman of Salinas, Ca took victory in in the final AMP Pro Flat Track Grand National of the season, piloting his Honda for a green lights to chequered flag win in Harley-Davidson sponsored GNC1 class action, presented by Vance and Hines, at the Orleans Casino in Las Vegas on Friday night, November 20. 20-year-old Bauman wound up 2.445 of a second ahead of the runner-up after 25 laps, a solid margin around such a tight, hockey rink-sized venue.
Unretired 47 year old Joe Kopp of Mica, WA made his sole start of the AMA Pro National Dirt Track season a success, the Triumph Team Manager piloting a unique Husqvarna FC450 to a solid second place.
Third overall belonged to Jared Mees, the popular Clio, MI racer having earlier in the evening clinched his second straight, and third Grand National career, overall National Title.
Fourth went to Sammy Halbert on a Yamaha, Jake Johnson fifth on a Honda and up-and-coming Yamaha rider Dominic Colindres earned sixth.
In what turned out to be a somewhat processional race around the very dusty, tenth of a mile oval, Bauman took control early and was never seriously challenged.
“I really don’t know if I should cry or scream with joy,” explained Bauman form the podium, emotional after his second career National feature victory. “The track was insane, so small and tight, really something with the performance of the bikes we were using. I basically raced all night without changing a single thing, we just checked the tire pressures.”
“Some of the best laps I did all night were in the final,” continued the victor. “I made a few mistakes, but I did well when it counted, I did well with the lapped traffic. I’m really excited that this result gets me in tomorrow’s race.”
After a first ever National Championship round at the new Orleans racing venue, the double header winds up on Saturday night with the first-ever invitational Superprestigio of the Americas event, with the star dirt trackers facing off against top riders from other disciplines of two-wheeled sport.
“I came here to have fun, I’m not really racing for a paycheck anymore,” smiled Kopp post-race. “It was my only outing of the year with these guys, and I wanted to make it count. The Husky worked really well, it was just awesome. Maybe now the Promoter will invite me to ride in the Superprestigo tomorrow.”
Mees explained that it was nice that the title battle pressure was diminished after arch rivals Bryan Smith and Kenny Coolbeth fell during Semi qualifying action, ending their chances for the crown. However Mees “came up a little short, Bauman split so quick, and it took me about five laps to get down to the bottom (racing line), really get into the groove.”
“It was really backyard racing, so I built a track in my backyard to get ready,” stated Mees. “It really was lots of fun preparing for this race. But my biggest fear was what happened to (title rival) Bryan, and I’ve been there racing little tracks, on concrete, on ice.”
“It’s great to finish up the year with the number one plate, we only got the one win, but we were always competitive, and consistency is what gets you Championships. Consistency pays off.”
Saturday, 21 November 2015 03:00 Published in News